"Tell me something, Fae. Where do you see yourself in the future?"
"That's a pretty large order, don't you think? How far into the future are you thinking?"
A pause. "Not that far, I suppose. Say five years?"
A shrug. "Who can say? If everything goes as planned, I'll be working in the Emerald City for the advocation of Animal rights. What about you?"
"Oh, I don't know. Nothing as noble as that, I'll say that much. I'm not cut out for stuff like that."
"Of course you are. As I told Galinda, if you applied yourself, you'd go far."
"Nah." His smile was teasing. "I'm more of the marry-the-rich-girl-and-be-set-for-life kind of guy."
Her tone was dry. "You're a prince, you idiot. You're already rich."
"Then I'm set for life, aren't I?"
Eyes rolled. "What you are is hopeless."
"You know, it takes a very direct person to say something like that."
"It's called a friend."
"Well, since I'm one of your best, then I suppose I'll forgive you."
"How gracious of you."
'Funny. You're avoiding my question. Where do you see yourself in five years?"
"Didn't I just tell you?"
"No. you answered with a job. That doesn't count. Don't you want to get married?"
"What if I don't?"
"I think you do."
"It's highly doubtful. And even if I did, who would want me for a wife? I'm not exactly every man's fantasy."
"You'll find someone."
A snort. "If you say so. Thank Oz I have the whole job thing to fall back on."
He ignored her. "I'm serious, Fae. One of these days some one is going to capture you're heart and you'll be unable to get it back. Mark my words. One day…"
The Prince raised his head at the sound of Glinda's voice, his face breaking into a smile at her enthusiasm. "In here, Glinda."
She blurred past the doorway a moment later, only to make a sharp turn and come to a skidding stop in front of him, eyes shining. "Guess what came in the post today?"
He shrugged. "I haven't the faintest idea."
Her smile shrank. "You're patronizing me, Fiyero. You know how feel about that."
"Glinda, I'm not. I swear." Leading her over to the settee, he guided her to her seat, then took one across from her. "Now what are you so excited to show me?"
"This!" Taking a much needed breath, the blonde produced a simple envelope for his inspection. Taking it from her, Fiyero glanced at her excited face to the letter he held in his hand. Upon seeing the return address, he felt his heart quicken slightly and his eyes increased in size. Working to swallow the lump in his throat, he said simply, "Elphaba?"
Glinda nodded, practically bouncing out of her seat. "She finally answered my letter! Isn't that fantabulous? Oh, I miss her so much! I wish she could have stayed her with us this summer instead of going home for the break."
"You know how important it was to her. Her father requested that she return home for the winter and she obliged. It's not as if she was alone, either. Nessa went home with her."
"I know," she pouted slightly. "But that doesn't mean I don't miss her."
The Prince leaned forward to cover her hand with his. "I know. I miss her too. We'll see her soon. The new term is only a few weeks off and then she'll be back before you know it."
"Maybe she's writing to tell us she's coming back early!"
He chuckled. "Perhaps. Although, I do doubt it. Her father seemed pretty determined to keep her home as long as possible." His face turned serious then. "Did you ever tell her about…you know…us?"
Glinda shook her head. "The poor dear is probably miserable enough at home. I didn't want to upset her further with the news of our break-up."
"Oh." In truth, he wasn't sure how to feel about that. A part of him wanted to know what her reaction would be. Would she be upset? Angry, even? Would she blame him? Previous experiences told him that when a girl's best friend found out about the dissolving of a relationship, then it was usually the male party who ended up injured or worse. But then again, Elphaba was one of his best friends. And the decision had been mutual and he and Glinda had parted friends; ironically he realized they got along better as friends than as lovers. Maybe he could come out of this situation unscathed.
Then there was the other part of him. The part that had been in love with Elphaba for a long time. He had seen past her harsh exterior and gotten to know, quite well, the person inside. The sarcastic, cynical, caring, loyal, and lovely person that she kept hidden from most of the world. The one woman he had never expected to love was now the one person he wanted. The one person he could never have.
"Fiyero?" Glinda's voice called him from his thoughts. "Aren't you going to open the letter?"
"Of course. Forgive me. Let's see what Elphaba's been up too, shall we?" Sliding his finger under the edge, he broke the seal and extracted a single piece of paper. Glinda came to stand behind him as he opened the letter and began to read.
Dearest Glinda and Fiyero,
I hope this finds the both of you well. I have no doubt that you are enjoying our winter break to the fullest, void of any homework or responsibility. I hope you're Lurlinemas was pleasant. We had a freak snowstorm over the holiday and found ourselves trapped inside for the better part of two days. In my case, this setback was only minimal, but Nessa nearly went mad from being cooped up in the house all day. You see, it is a tradition of ours to go for longs walks in the snow during the winter. It's her favorite time of year, so to be confined to the house as well as the chair was very tragic in her eyes…
The letter went on to discuss the other activities of her break. Boq had visited briefly, leaving Nessa nearly heartbroken when he left, leaving Elphaba to console her. As if that wasn't enough, her father had her reading book after book on Munchkin law in preparation for assisting her sister, he claimed. "Never mind the fact that is still years off," Fiyero had muttered.
"Well, Elphie always did like to be prepared," Glinda reasoned. "Anyway, it's not as if she loathes reading. She'll probably look at it as a challenge." She nudged his shoulder. "Why did you quit reading? There's still more!"
Fiyero was tempted to shake his head, but refrained. He was just as eager as he was to see what else the green girl had been doing in their absence. He brought his eyes back to the paper in front of him, taking a moment to catch his breath before he continued.
This may come as a surprise to the both of you. Frankly, it came as a surprise to me, if I were to be perfectly honest with the two of you. I'm hesitant to even say anything at this point, but I feel that the two of you have a right to know.
Fiyero frowned. A right to know? A right to know what?
Glinda poked him. "Why did you stop? I want to know what's going on."
He said nothing, only turned his eyes back to the letter and read on.
Until I met the two of you, I had no one of significance in my life, save Nessa and even that was a relationship born of obligation rather than free will. Both of you have shown me that I am capable of building lasting friendships, something I never thought I would ever have. You are the family that I never had and I wish you could both know how much you mean to me and that, until the day I die, you will both be my best friends Because of this, I want you to know that the impossible seems to be happening. I think….I think I'm falling in love.
And that was when the world came crashing down. Glinda squealed and Fiyero stiffened. Elphaba? In love? How could this happen?
Beside him, Glinda practically bounced with excitement. "Keep reading, Fiyero. There's more!"
He swallowed hard and shook his head. "I…I need to go."
"What?" Oz, he had forgotten how high her voice could go when she did that. "How can you just walk away? It's just getting good!"
"That's not quite the way I'd put it." Fiyero muttered, but sat back down. "Alright, Glinda. I'll stay." Working to keep a neutral expression, he began to read of Elphaba's new love.
I don't even know how to begin to describe him to you both. I won't go as far as to say he's perfect; all of us know that perfection does not exist (No, Glinda. Not even in you). He is caring, charming, and more wonderful than any words can describe. I must admit, our meeting was far from ideal, but as we came to know one another, all pretenses fell away and we began to talk without insulting one another. He is far from the intellectual that would normally catch my attention. In all honesty, he can be a complete idiot sometimes and yet still manage to win me over with a smile or a charming word. He is wonderful with Nessa and she adores him as well. My father has not met him yet, although anyone who would take me off his hands is sure to win his approval with little trouble.
Perhaps the thing that amazes me the most is the way he treats me. He doesn't treat me as most men do, but as a human rather than just a women. He listens to me and takes in interest on what I have to say. My dreams and my opinions matter to him. He encourages me to do my best and supports me in whatever I try to accomplish, even when I feel like I've completely failed. Mostly, he seems blind to the color of my skin. When he does manage to drag me out (Yes, it has happened), he never acts embarrassed or burdened by me. It's wonderful, Glinda. To have someone love you as you are with no agendas or hidden motives. It's everything that you've told me it could be.
Listen to me, will you? Here I am rambling incessantly about something that probably matters little to either of you. If I were the one reading this letter, I would probably be laughing at how ridiculous I sound, wouldn't I? Therefore, I shall stop writing and simply close by saying that I miss the both of you and look forward to seeing you both very soon. Take care of yourselves, my sweets.
All my love,
All Fiyero could do was shake his head. "No." he muttered softly. "No, no, no, NO!" Rising abruptly from his chair, he threw the letter aside and stalked away, leaving a stunned Glinda behind him. 'Sweet Oz, no!"
"Fiyero!" He could hear the click of her heels behind him. "What's gotten into you? Aren't you happy for her?
He turned to meet her worried gaze. "Happy?" He laughed bitterly. "How can I be happy? Elphaba's in love!"
The blonde folded her arms across her chest and shot him a glare that could melt ice. "And there's something wrong with that? She's finally happy, Fiyero! She has someone to love her!"
"Weren't we enough?"
She laughed. "You know as much as we love her, it can't compare to being in love. Nothing can."
He was silent for a moment, staring out the window. "You don't understand, " he said softly. "It should have been me."
He nodded, shoulders dropping. "I should be the one to love her. I've loved her for as long as I can remember."
He could imagine Glinda's eyes widening behind him and although he couldn't see her, the surprise in her voice was all too clear. "You have? Why didn't you say anything? "
"It wasn't that simple!" he exclaimed, whirling around. "You and I were still together when I began to suspect. What was I supposed to say? I tried to fight it, but the feelings only became stronger. When enough time had passed after we had broken up, it was too late. She had already left for Munchkinland."
"Oh, Fiyero…" She placed a hand alongside his face, that simple touch saying all that she couldn't.
He managed a slight smile, pressing a kiss to her palm. "It's my own fault, I suppose. I could have written to her, but I was too afraid she would laugh in my face. I should be the one to love her; she's my best friend, the person I know better than anyone else." He sighed. "Now she'll never know how I feel."
"Don't be so sure," came a voice from beyond.
Still holding Glinda's hand, Fiyero turned to see Elphaba standing in the doorway, suitcase in hand. Glancing at Glinda, who seemed oddly calm, he dropped her hand and moved toward the door. "Fae?"
She shrugged. "I'm here."
"I see that." He hesitated only a moment before crushing her in a hug. "It's so good to see you."
She patted his back, awkwardly. "Likewise. I see you've managed to stay out of trouble while I was gone."
He shrugged, still keeping her in his hold. "For the most part. You're back for good?"
She nodded against his shoulder. "Yes. Although I can't promise you that if I can't breathe!"
"Oh!," He released her, blushing as she took a step back. "Sorry. I'm just glad to see you."
Elphaba hugged Glinda tightly before turning back to him. "I gathered that."
"Elphie!" Glinda hugged her again. "How wonderful! We were just reading your letter and here you are! So…" her grin turned sly. 'Who is he?"
At Glinda' question, the Prince flushed deeper and turned away. He heard Elphaba stutter behind him and it did his heart a bit of good to know this was as awkward for her as it was for him. That was probably the reason she had written it in the letter in the first place-to avoid a situation exactly like this. She just had the misfortune of arriving at the same time it had. It was- Fiyero froze. Exactly how long had she been standing there? If she had heard him…sweet Oz, if she had heard him…
"Uh, Fae? Can I talk to you for a moment?" Grasping her arm, he pulled her away from Glinda. Leading her across the room, he smiled slightly and then asked, "Um, when you came…exactly how much did you hear?"
"You mean of your little speech?" She glanced away, then her eyes met the floor. "Probably more than you would have liked."
Fiyero cursed silently. "Listen, Elphaba. I'm sorry. If whomever you found makes you happy and if that-"
She cut him off "Is is true?"
He blinked. "Excuse me?"
"You heard me," she said quietly. "Answer the question. Is it true?"
"Elphaba, I…yes," he admitted.
She nodded slightly, the muscles working in her throat. "I see. Would you care to tell me how long this has been going on?"
A nervous laugh. "Longer than you've probably thought." He sighed deeply and chanced taking her hand. Grateful that she didn't pull away or slap him, he explained, "Elphaba, I've cared about you for a long time. When I realized how I truly felt, the time just never seemed right to tell you. I didn't want to lose your friendship. You're too precious to me. And then we got your letter and something inside me snapped. I can't promise you I'm happy about this, but if he makes you happy that's all that matters. I'll do my best to-"
Her eyes lifted into their classic roll. "Shut up," she snapped, and then pulled him to her, kissing him fiercely.
Fiyero swallowed a gasp of surprise, then wrapped his arms around her, losing himself in her touch. Finally, she stepped back, working hard to keep the smirk of her face. Stunned, he could do nothing but watch her. "What was that for?"
"Fiyero, you idiot," Elphaba shook her head. "Don't you see? The man I was talking about was you."
His mouth fell open. "What?"
"Didn't you read what I wrote? Any competent person could see I meant you."
He snorted. "Except me."
She shrugged. "It was a risk I had to take. Listen, Fiyero. I can't promise you that I'll be secure all the time. You know my lack of experience with relationships. But I'm willing to try."
He shook his head. "I don't expect anything less from you, Fae. But why me?"
She came to him then, brushing a piece of hair out of his face. "Who else would I choose? You're my best friend, Fiyero. You know me better than anyone else, save Glinda. Who else could there possibly be?"
"I love you," he said, reveling in the joy of finally being able to speak them to her. "I have for some time."
"I love you, too," she answered, drawing his head down to hers. "I'm sorry it took me this long to tell you." She quirked a brow. "Shall we make up for lost time?"
"Gladly", he breathed and proceeded to kiss her thoroughly.
Across the room, Glinda sighed dreamily as she watched the scene unfold before her. Elphaba and Fiyero were lost to anything but each other, but that was to be expected. A satisfied smile crossed her face as she picked up the letter, crumpling it into a ball. I'm glad I convinced Elphie to write this. Otherwise, only Oz knows how long this would have taken! Shaking her head, she glanced at her friends, then quietly slipped out of the room.
Sometimes, love just needed a slight push
"I'll promise you this, Fae. No mater what happens, I'll always be there for you."
"Even after you've married some princess and had all ten children?"
A laugh. "Especially then. That's what friends are for."
"And you're my best?"